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The Army of the Republic

Good fiction has the power to illuminate reality and inform one's perspective like nothing else. It gives the reader the opportunity to see reality from a different point of view. Good fiction can also serve as the warning for a potential reality that we want to avoid. Stuart Archer Cohen's The Army of the Republic is an excellent example of this kind of fiction.

Set in a not too distant future United States of America, things have progressed from bad to worse. The gap between the haves and the have-nots has grown into a yawning chasm; elections are routinely hijacked; organized citizens' groups who see the corruption of the current Regime fight to restore the rule of law - both violently and non-violently - while their protests are painted as "domestic terrorism" by the pro-Administration, big media network Channel America. Corporations work hand in glove with the Administration to privatize public highways and utilities, the latest and most brazen instance being the entire Pacific Northwest's water supply, the Columbia River. Citizen's groups are powerless to stop the fascist onslaught as the line between military, police, and private corporate security is blurred. The private contract security firm Whitehall, funded with billions of dollars in corporate money becomes law unto itself, ultimately engaging in domestic kidnapping and assassinations of activists (or terrorists, depending on who you believe).

Get the picture? The fictional world Cohen has created isn't all that different from the world we live in today. Extrapolate out a few years from today and if things don't change, we'll soon be living in Cohen's world.

Already here in Massachusetts, they're talking about privatizing the Mass Turnpike, while the corporate press spins it as "a public-private partnership that will make the Mass Pike more efficient." In Chicago, they've rammed through a law to lease the city's parking meters to a private corporation. Forget about free parking on Sundays and holidays, but the corporate press spins it as a way for the city to raise much needed cash. And at the Federal level, we all know that the US Treasury, headed by the former chief of the nation's largest investment bank, is engaged in a massive, blatant transfer of wealth from the US taxpayers to largest financial firms. Yet nary a peep of protest do we hear from the majority of citizens.

Like most people in our current slumbering nation, most in Cohen's story are clueless to the changes as well. The story thus revolves around the vocal minority of activists, democracy groups, affinity groups and guerillas who are wide awake and fighting the Regime in every way possible. This is the power of the book. It allows us to imagine and see the consequences of the different paths the future might take and how we can respond, and what the potential costs and consequences might be.

The story is unique in that it is narrated from a variety of perspectives. The first chapter is told from the POV of Lando, the young activist-cum-urban guerilla in Seattle who is a member of the loose affiliation of direct action groups collectively known as the "Army of the Republic." We also hear from James Sands, the billionaire D.C. insider and businessman who is out to privatize and profit from the entire Columbia River. The third perspective is that of Emily Cortright, a non-violent political organizer, head of Seattle-based Democracy Northwest Network and coordinator of a nation-wide network of civil action groups. Throughout the book, the perspective shifts from character to character, giving us a 360-degree view of the action, including different takes on the same situation. Lando represents the violent militant faction, which believes that the time for non-violent change has long since passed. Emily represents the myriad non-violent civil action groups from across the political spectrum that oppose the regime. Taken together, the entire movement is de-centralized and messy. Lando quotes from the Book of Judges to describe it: "At that time, there was no King in Israel, and each mad did as he saw fit in his own eyes." What unites them, and allows them to work together is their opposition to the Regime.

Although the book describes violence, which many abhor, it is fiction. And it takes place in a world in which, like at the founding of this nation, non-violent options seem to have been exhausted. As Cohen wrote in an email to me, "I'm not endorsing violence. On the contrary, the book makes clear the enormous personal and social costs when people take the path of violent resistance. At the same time, it makes apparent the costs when elites succeed in getting everything they want."

Indeed, as in life, there are no easy answers. But the book gives tremendous perspective for anyone involved in the R3volution over the past two years. You'll recognize much of what we've been through, aside from the violence (though anyone at the 2008 RNC knows that it was implicit throughout the entire city and event).

I enjoyed this book tremendously, partly because I was born and raised in Seattle, where most of the book is set. It brought back memories of being at the 1999 WTO protests, and it was exciting to read of an alternate future of the city and country under siege.

To the r3volution community, I give my highest recommendation for The Army of the Republic. In an age when I seem to be simultaneously reading ten books at once, and never finishing any of them, this was one that I could barely put down, and found myself reading it at every spare moment. It has been a long time since I've been that excited about a book. Not only is it educational & thought provoking, it is a fast paced thriller.

But don't take my word for it. The New York "Judith Miller" Times really slammed it in a review for its elite readers. All things considered, I take the fact that they want to silence this book as high praise.

Buy your copy at Amazon. You won't be disappointed.

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another must read for patriots

Jim Marrs *The Rise Of The Fourth Reich*
"The only thing 'real' in this life is Love and honest relationship to others and this world. Everything else is fake."
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Read this book!!

* Bump for those who may have missed it! I found it at my local library!
"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." ~ Chris Floyd

"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." ~ Chris Floyd

Michael Nystrom's picture

Great, isn't it? Doesn't it

Great, isn't it?

Doesn't it remind you of the r3volution? I wish more people would read it.

I read it right after you suggested!

I'm ready to read it again!! I have bumped this occasionally, trying to get others to read it! A few on here have!! Thank you!

"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." ~ Chris Floyd

"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." ~ Chris Floyd

I highly reccommend this book!

I read it (on Michaels suggestion) a few months back! I was able to find it at the library ...good read for the weekend!!

"I truly wish that real life would no longer surpass the worst excesses of my nightmarish imaginings... Arthur Silber **

"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." ~ Chris Floyd

The Traveller by John Twelve-Hawks

seems to be a good Sci-Fi. I'm just getting started on it, but it sets up an interesting conflict between people who can verify history and people who are wholeheartedly threatened by that ability.

Defend Liberty!

Government has no business owning most of what it has.

Government properties should be sold off under a fair bidding process. How else to you propose that government shrink in size?

New Hampshire and Ecuador.

Michael Nystrom's picture

The problem is - how can it possibly be fair?

The cards are stacked against honesty under the Federal Reserve System. Who has the money (FRNs) to privatize public goods now? Only the politically connected, and those connected to the banking system & Federal Reserve.

sacohen's picture

Good Comment

I agree with you, Mike. The big winners in the privatization of the Communist systems were, gasp, the best connected Communists!

I am preparing a blog on the myth of small government (Yes, I know that's the equivalent of pouring gasoline over my body and setting myself on fire on this site) but I think the point you bring up in your comment is a critical one when we talk about shrinking government. It's not a blanket solution.

I think Ron Paul supporters are thoughtful enough to consider it. Just in case, stand by with a fire extinguisher, please.


The Army of the Republic

A libertarian principle,


But does it bother anyone that corporations will not go away even with less government?

It seems like a logical conclusion that Corporations will grow bigger with less government, which is fine, I suppose.

I just can't figure out why there are so-called libertarians dissing corporations.

Corporations are creatures of the state

They by definition cannot exist without government. They are created only through state action.

I don't think that corporations are the problem;

I think that corporate welfare is the problem. Big government and big business are in cahoots against small business owners, who aren't able to keep up with all of the laws, regulations, etc., like they can.

Exactly! Works great against small family farmers too.

“Humans, despite our artistic pretensions, our sophistication and accomplishments, owe the fact of our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

And never forget, “Humans, despite our artistic pretensions, our sophistication and many accomplishments, owe the fact of our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

tReason foundation

is a neocon infested pile of crap

woo hoo!

Besides the point...

I'm curious to know why so-called Ron Paul supporters/libertarians do not support privitization of roads and toll bridges etc.

I found this quote at

"6. Privatize roads/jails/bridges. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We can’t afford to fix it, so maybe we should hand it over to private companies. There’s no sound reason the government builds our roads and bridges and there’s no reason they should manage the jails. All we get is waste."

reedr3v's picture

Another consideration, besides the

excellent comments below: if the government hadn't killed all innovation after its takeover of Amtrak, there wouldn't likely be the over-reliance on destructive highway systems.
Picture excellent train systems that would transport your car with you to the area of destination, effortlessly and at a reasonable price.
so once again, when the government is involved, everything becomes distorted. Only free markets can sort out consumer needs and make the best options available.

Michael Nystrom's picture

That may be fine in theory

And under a free market.

But what most people fail to understand now is that we don't have a free market. The economy that we have is set up under the rules described and dictated by the Federal Reserve.

Privatizing public infrastructure is expensive. Who could afford to buy out a state's highways? Not you, and not me. But under the current system, it would be anyone who has political connections with the Fed / banking system, which just prints money at will. How can an honest person compete with that?

In other words, it would take some kind of banking/government insider to pull of such a deal. The result is not private enterprise, it is a government / business hybrid, aka fascism. The problem with that is you have a private company that also has access to the use of force. And that is a terrible combination.

Who could afford to buy out a state's highways?

Given any money system, those with the most toys(i.e. money/gold) will be the ones who buy out a state's highway. It definitely won't be me.

Privatization of highways would allow the owners to charge as much as they want and hire their own gaurds to watch their roads. Who would prevent them from using anymore force than our government uses?

Is this really what libertarians want? And why? I personally don't mind paying a little bit of taxes to have them state funded and public.

It really depends on the

It really depends on the libertarian.

Nowadays, 'libertarian' can mean anything, from a neo-con war hawk (Neal Boortz, Wayne Root) to a mindless GOP bureaucrat (Bob Barr), to a doctrinaire Leftist (Bill Maher, Camille Paglia).

Libertarian used to mean "anarcho-capitalist", but nowadays, it means very little that is principle-based. The Libertarian Party is oblivious to this, of course, as they are oblivious to a great many practical things--and what your political label stands for is a very practical matter.

This privatization of roads issue is just the sort of argument libertarians, with their original anarcho-capitalist leanings, used to love to debate. But libertarianism may begin to die out now after years of ineffectual politics and 2008's failure to establish strong party principles. The libertarian voice, today, is muddled.

So, in my opinion, it defaults to our new philosophy that is replacing libertarianism--constitutionalism.

The Constitution provides for government roads in Article I, Section Eight. I can see no real need or positive value for privately owned toll roads.

Support the Constitution of the United States

Support the Constitution of the United States

No it doesn't

It allows for POST ROADS, which are not roads.

Roads are covered fairly and squarely in Amendment 10.

We need to end FHWA. The only business that the federal government has in the roads business is to exercise jurisdiction at the juncture between states and for bridges over interstate waterways, and to exercise oversight when states enter into compacts establishing uniform rules of the road and adopt uniform signage.

What about safety?

Walter Block has worked a lot on the issue of private roads. He points out that 40,000 people a year die on socialized roads. This would be greatly reduced with some competition.

Here's a recent talk of his on this issue.

Furthermore, who cares if the Constitution permits socialized roads? Remember, the Constitution also absurdly permits a post office...

Michael Nystrom's picture

Excellent post, Kevin.

Excellent post, Kevin.

You make a good point. In a

You make a good point. In a totally corrupted system, privatizing public property to corporations isn't really privatizing at all.

It's a lot like the knee-jerk libertarian reaction to immigration control. Open borders would be fine if there was no IRS, no direct taxation, if there were no regulations on businesses, or "sweatshop laws", or workmen's comp, or labor unions, or social welfare. Open borders would be fine on Utopia Island. Here in the real world under a crooked socialist government, it just means the taxpayers are getting screwed again.

Support the Constitution of the United States

Support the Constitution of the United States

No expert here, but maybe the example of...

The Nafta Super Highway/Trans Texas Corridor is applicable.

From what I understand, people that have already paid for roads with their tax dollars will now be paying some foreign company, because of secretive government hanky-panky, to drive on those roads, and screw themselves at the same time with the whole thing.

Having private property rights is important. But I don't think that is what public/private partnerships are really about.

Personally, to me the basic question of whether something should be private or public lies in its usage. Hopefully I'm not oversimplifying this.

Shared public-usage thing? Not private.
House or land or car that is not for public sharing or usage? Private.
Public/private partnerships? Noose.

Just an opinion.

Just because something is

Just because something is allowed doesn't make it a good idea.

TTC/NAFTA Superhighway opponent here....

Here are some of the most basic problems with this so-called "pubic-private" partnership surrounding the TTC in Texas.

--The private sector doesn't buy the land at fair market value (FMV is generally defined as the price a WILLING seller will accept from WILLING buyer)...The state takes it throught the brute force of eminent domain. There's even a "quick-take" provision whereby you can be evicted from your home before the appeals process is even complete.

--The taxpayers pay for all of the acquisition, litigation, etc. The state then owns the underlying property (including mineral rights, water rights, etc). This takes even more natural resources out of the hands of the private sector. The private partner then "leases" the roadway back from the state. It's a HUGE scam designed to part taxpayers and their money.

--These roads will run thru rural areas currently served by volunteer or minimally-staffed emergency services & hospitals. One major pile-up on this corridor and many of our local entities would be absolutely bankrupt....How many foriegn nationals will be in our hospitals because FedGov will not let us turn them away?.....Who's going to pay for all that care in these poor & rural areas? What fire dept/rescue crew will be equipped to handle these HazMat spills?....Not our little Volunteer VFD.

--The local counties, schools, hospital districts, etc lose a big chunk of tax revenue when the state takes these swaths of land from these areas.....Even though the private partner will make billions, there are no property taxes paid to the local gov't because it's technically state-owned property and therefore exempt from local property taxes. That means that in those affected counties the remaining property owners that don't lose their property get to pay even higher property taxes to make up for the land taken off the tax rolls by the state.

As for who builds our roads here.....Private companies bid for those projects. I don't believe that state employees actually build the roads, but I do think they maintain them.

As for the Texans affected, we are all very well aware that these roads are being pushed by the globalists. They want EZ access from the deep-water Mexican ports through Texas and into the heart of the USA & Canada.....Major corporations love this thing because of ease with which they can import all the third-world-made products into this continent. (In fact, during one very disturbing TxDOT "town hall" meeting earlier this year, one of the TxDOT big-shots even explained how terrible it was that the port/dock workers had gone on strike previously & interrupted the incoming goods shipments...Went on to say how great it would be to end-run all those (American) workers by routing the shipments thru to the Mexican ports where their workers don't strike).

They want to pave over our farms, ranches, schools, cemeteries, homes, churches, timberlands, etc so that someone else can make billions. It's not being built for Texans, and that's part of why this half-million acre land grab is such a sore subject for so many of us.

See why so many here are opposed to this thing?

"scam" Sums it up nicely. :)

Thanks for the post.

(Oh, but wait. Isn't the NAFTA Superhighway just some conspiracy theory?...)

The Constitution Article.

The Constitution
Article. I
Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power

To establish Post Offices and post Roads

"The disease of liberty is catching." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1820

13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he shall hate the one, and love the other, or else he shall lean to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and riches. - Luke 16

free market is dead

because government corruption is rampant. Privatization would only work in a truly free market.

woo hoo!